It pays to advertise

I was riding the unik to work today. As I rode across a crosswalk, I passed in front of a tree service truck with a couple of guys in it, waiting to turn right. I pulled up and waited for the lights to change, and as I did so I noticed the guy in the passenger seat 'staring', so I nodded and smiled politely. The driver then yelled out the window, "Hey, I have one of those! I don't know how to use it!"

Trying to be encouraging/polite, I responded, "Yeah, it just takes some practice."

"No, I don't want it. You want it? I'll give it to you."

Pause. "Sure!"

"Here. Here's my card. Call me."

I'm pondering what it means that a) this happens right before I go up to the mountains, and b) that my brother is thinking about buying a unicycle.


In the Wilderness

I was - briefly - pondering Lent and Easter a few moments ago. What occurred to me mainly was how much more time I "had" to spend on memorizing scripture during Lent. That was a purposeful choice on my part, and one which I definitely intend to repeat. But it got me thinking about fasting.

Since we are not Dr. Who, and do not have any control over time or its flow, we only have one way to "make time" for something, and that is to give up something else. This is really the definition of fasting. When we fast, we give up something (often eating, but sometimes more difficult things like the internet) in favor of something else. One sided "fasting", which consists of simply giving something up, leaves a hole in our lives. This hole, if not purposefully filled, will be accidentally filled by the flotsam and jetsam of daily life, especially when it is a time hole, because we still have to spend the time somehow.

Thus it is that Jesus - and so many, many others - went into the desert to fast and pray. The purpose of going into the desert wasn't fasting. The purpose was praying. It's just that some times you have to make room for prayer, and that is the essence of fasting.

Thinking - briefly - about fasting, led me briefly on to thinking about wildernesses, where so many people have fasted, either by their own choice or someone else's. Thinking - briefly - about the wilderness led me to thinking about camping, wherein I had my epiphany: Camping is the essence of fasting. How many people speak of camping in terms of "getting away", or "taking time off"? In camping, we give up the conveniences of modern day life, with its very many distractions, and we fill that time with other things: hiking, napping, reading, swimming, playing games, talking. Sometimes even praying.

So next time you have to explain Lent and fasting to a friend who "just doesn't get it", tell them that it's kinda like going camping for 40 days, but without all of the packing, unpacking, smoke, bugs and dirt.


Psalm 3

From memory:
1. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! how many are they that rise up agains me.
2. Many there be that say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.
4. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.
6. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
7. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou has smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.


Bible memorization

This year SexyMamma and I decided to work on memorizing parts of the Bible. Now that Lent is upon us, I have begun in earnest, and I have to say that so far I like it.

This year, I am aiming to memorize all of John's epistles (1,2,3 John, and the first however many chapters of Revelations) as well as "Psalms". Not all of the psalms, but I want to start moving that direction. So I decided I'm going to try taking it a psalm a week. I figure that if I can keep that up, I'll get through almost a third of the psalms this year, and maybe in three years I'll have memorized the whole thing!

Now, this leads to the inevitable question of how I'll maintain my work. Once I've memorized a psalm, how often will I revisit it to keep it 'fresh'? And the answer is: I haven't gotten that far yet. But I did figure out one thing that is keeping me encouraged:

I have decided that my memorization goals are two-fold: 1) In the first week, memorize it as close to verbatim as possible; this includes punctuation. 2) After the first week is over, I would like to be able to recite it verbatim, but mostly I want to have a solid enough memory of each psalm that I can remember, "Hey, I think Psalm 3 says something about going to bed and waking up..." and be able to find my way through the psalms fairly easily.

So my method at this point is to learn them tactilely. That is, I'm learning them by writing them, rather than by reading or speaking them. I print the psalm of the week on a 3x5 card that I can carry around, and then I keep a scratch-pad and nice pen on me, so that whenever I have a few spare minutes I can practice writing out my work. This means that I get to use that tactile part of myself with which I identify so closely, and I have something beneficial with which to fill all of the little cracks and gaps of my life.

Saint Roles

...Not to be confused with CreSaint Rolls.

Here's my deep thought during church today. It has nothing to do with the sermon, more with something I'd been mulling over from a bunch of comments that were made about the RC church on a web forum where I lurk:

The role of the Saints should be not to stand between us and God, but rather to point us toward God. They should act as a road or pathway leading us toward God, rather than a door by which we can access God.

It seems to me that - at least on a surface level - the role of the Saints in those churches where they have a role, is as mediators, or someone to whom we go instead of going to God. Instead of praying to God, we ask the Saints to pray to God on our behalf.

I am much more compelled to look at the lives of the Saints and the things they did - whether real or legendary, since I'll never know for sure which is which - and instead attempt to emulate the way that they related to God.


Psalm 2

From Memory:

1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them sorely in his sore displeasure.
6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7. I will declare the decree: The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.
8. Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9. Thou shall break them with a rod of iron; thou shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings; be instructed ye judges of the earth.
11. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.


ProgenArt: A new blog

I started a new blog today, in honor of the fact that my daughter regularly gives me drawings, and I usually don't know what to do with them. I thought putting together an album that we can look back at in years to come might be cool, but decided to go digital instead of hard-copy. Thus, I give you ProgenArt, a home for all of my children's artistic endeavors.


Project: Juggling Bags

This weekend I got inspired and made myself some custom juggling bags. I also wrote up and posted an instructable about the process, in case any of you feel like following in my manly footsteps.